50-gun Fourth Rate (NTW unit)
|50-gun Fourth Rate|
|Turns to build:||8|
This is the smallest vessel styled a “ship-of-the-line” of battle, carrying some 50 long guns.
Ships-of-the-line are the mainstay of fighting fleets; they are strong and stable gun platforms for battering enemy fleets to pieces. A 50-gun ship-of-the-line is a square-rigged, two-deck vessel, carrying two calibres of cannon: 24- and 18-pounders, with the heavier guns mounted on the lower deck. Though cheap compared to other two-deck warships, their broadside is still effective at close range, and best employed against frigates and smaller craft. A 50-gun ship should not be expected to last long in combat against larger battleships.
By the 1750s it was obvious that 50-gun ships lacked the hull strength and firepower to stand in the line of battle against larger vessels. Because of their size, there was a new production of British 50-gun ships to serve in shallow coastal waters during the American Revolution but, apart from this, their usefulness in battle was largely over. Various national admiralties removed these small battle ships from active service, or sent them to minor overseas stations where they were unlikely to encounter powerful enemies. Some survived as converted troop transports.